Frederick has issued an official response to an allegation that the city’s Downtown Hotel Advisory Committee violated elements of Maryland’s Open Meetings Act by meeting behind closed doors and without notice to the public.

Peter Samuel, a longtime opponent of the proposed downtown hotel and conference center project, submitted a complaint in September to the Open Meetings Compliance Board alleging the hotel committee has been violating open meetings laws since its inception in 2010. The complaint estimated the board has met 30 to 40 times, mostly behind closed doors, and said the group is not listed on the city’s website as an official committee. It also said the committee was put together in a closed-door session.

Assistant City Attorney Rachel Depo said via email Friday that she submitted the city’s response to the state board. The response said the committee is not a public body, and thus it is not subject to the rules in the state’s Open Meetings Act. It said the committee does not meet any of the criteria to be used in determining whether an entity is a public body and asked that the board members find the committee was not in violation of open meetings laws.

“The City respectfully asks that the OCMB find that there has been no violation of the Act as alleged in the Complaint or otherwise,” the response said.

Depo said she forwarded a copy of the response to Samuel on Friday morning and expects the Open Meetings Compliance Board will issue its response within 30 days.

The multimillion-dollar proposed downtown hotel and conference center, which is slated to come together with public and private funds, is in the early stages of design. Developers and architects have been working with the city’s Historic Preservation Commission on design details. The commission is set to vote Thursday on details of the first phase.

The 180-room hotel and 20,000-square-foot conference center is planned for 200-212 E. Patrick St. along Carroll Creek.

Follow Mallory Panuska on Twitter: @MalloryPanuska.

(6) comments

Burgessdr

Samuel will continue to kick and scream even while it is being constructred, and even after it is built. He likely will even harass hotel guests, like he harasses anyone that supports the hotel.

gary4books

Most towns would say this is a good way to get "State Money" and fill a need where the profitability of the hotel might be in doubt, but the help to other local business is expected. That is why public money helps the public good. But this is a personal matter with a few. This I find hard to understand. They money collected for this purpose could never build roads or schools.

jerseygrl42

This is truly shameful and of course they want to meet behind closed doors to shield as much as possible from the eyes of the taxpayers ....$31 Million misappropriated to enrich two families, Plamondon and Randall, who will reap the rewards while the taxpayers get the Bills...reminds one of the Jefferson Tech park scam, where $50 Million was spent for an overpass to "build the future home for technology" and all we got was townhouses while the Young BoCC did much better, and the Matan deal where 57 home development on wells/septic was approved a couple of hours before a new law took affect that would have prohibited it, and the incinerator which would have cost the Frederick taxpayers $2 Billion in new debt while Marschner ran around telling everyone the taxpayers weren't on the hook for the debt, a blatant LIE ,and have to wonder why he is still on the county payroll....so this is just another in a long line of misdeeds and wonder whatever happened to INTEGRITY....it surely is in short supply here...

Dwasserba

The opposition is overwhelming, funded and powerful. Respect.

gary4books

Not so much respect, but certain surprise at the energy of the opposition. If only they had some good reasons to oppose it. Bed bugs and better at Harpers Ferry did not convince me.

rbtdt5

Kick, scream, cry all you want. We are getting this hotel. Poor Peter.

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